First of all what do these darn acronyms CELTA and TEFL stand for? well, CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults and TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
Now that we've got that out of the way, for those of you thinking about becoming an English teacher you're probably wondering if you should do a TEFL or CELTA or any other English language teaching course. The questions in your minds like me before are "is it worth it ?" will it really help me land a job?" "what will I learn?" "who to choose?" "How much should I pay for a course?" etc.
In my personal opinion I would say it's definitely worth it if you choose the right center offering these courses, plus not only will it help you find an English teaching job but it will also give you valuable experience for your new chosen career.
I choose to do a CELTA course which is governed, marked and approved by Cambridge university. It was a solid, intensive 4 week full time course which involved 120+ classroom hours, 4 written essays/assessments and 6+ teaching hours practice. It was very hard work but it really helped me grasp the basics of teaching and was a good start for my EFL teaching career, plus it gave me the confidence to look for my first job not being a complete newbie to the industry.
Of course like with any job you get better with experience, interaction with other people doing the same job, doing more courses and studying to get even better at your job, teaching English is no different.
So if you are completely new to this industry and want to teach and travel the world at the same time, I would say doing a CELTA at least in my experience really helps. There are many centers you can choose that offer a CELTA course, I choose to do mine at Language Link in Earls court, London after having read some reviews about their centre and teacher trainers. They were really friendly, professional and helpful, plus I thought their teacher trainers actually cared and they also helped us find jobs as the course came to an end.
Many of the people I studied with ended up teaching English all over the world, as for me my first real teaching job took me to the Ukraine, where I started learning real on the job experience at International House Donetsk. The team there really helped me become a better teacher and I am extremely grateful for their help, support and training (Thanks Sergey and the team:)
Of course it also depends where you want to teach and how much you would like to earn, many schools in certain countries don't even look to see if you have any of these certificates but Ive heard that these types of schools are a nightmare to work for and you rarely get payed on time, if at all.
However I think if you want to be good at your job and don't want to be caught out as a charlatan, its well worth your time to give one of these courses a shot and to also see if teaching is for you. When I was doing my course at least one person left when they realised teaching wouldn't be for them.
If you have any more questions about my CELTA experience please feel free to drop me an email, or get these 2 great books which will give you a wealth of knowledge and info about becoming an English teacher. The first is The CELTA Course Trainee Book which covers many important aspects of teaching English from classroom management, how to motivate your students, how to present vocabulary and grammar, teaching at different levels to how to plan a class. The second book I recommend you should get is Teach English as a Foreign Language which talks about being a teacher, how to focus on certain skills for teaching, correct pronunciation, lesson planning, teaching one-to-one classes, and how to find work.
I wish you all the best in your career as a TEFL teacher should you chose to follow this path, and hope you have a great, fun, adventure travelling the world whilst working at the same time like I have. My adventures as an English teacher led me to Ukraine where I now have a Ukrainian wife and two wonderful daughters (this wasn't the plan at all btw, it just happened, nor was she one of my students)
So you never know where you might end up, but it'll be an adventure. Thats for sure.
Article by Marvin Fernandez